Extract highlighted text from a PDF in Linux

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Majority topics on exporting highlighted text of a PDF are unanswered or are too old to be useful anymore. Extracting highlighted text seems to be a problematic in all operating systems and when it comes to Linux the situation get worse due to lack of efficient PDF tools. For instance, a simplest [partially] unresolved problem until recently (2013-2014) was saving highlighted text of a PDF file permanently.

Thanks Foxit for starting again to release its reader program for Linux.

But still extracting highlighted text is a big issue that seems to be sort of forgotten. Even Linux version of Foxit reader lacks this feature. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward way to tackle this problem using native tools in Linux. Only easiest option remains, except doing programming, is to use Windows version of Foxit reader on Wine if you don’t want to pay for Adobe Acrobat Reader Pro version for this feature! Foxit on Wine works great and flawlessly, thanks to Wine developers. In my tests all the functionalities work great. It is worth mentioning that in 2013 and before I used Foxit on Wine to highlight text, so I used almost all its features under Wine.

I installed Foxit reader version 5 which is quite old yet lightweight and efficient when it’s running under Wine. You can get version 5 from this link or if you are interested in adventure install newer version and share the outcomes of your test.
Installation is easy-peasy as usual, just open the downloaded setup.exe file with Wine and click next, next, next (Windows way of doing things ;-)).

To extract highlighted text, open your PDF file with Foxit reader, click on comment menu and then click on summarize comments (below picture).

Comments Menu
Comments Menu

A window will popup which asks for settings of the summary file, set your preferences and click create.

Creating Summary Setting
Creating Summary Setting

Now open the directory that summary saved in, you should have a PDF file with structure similar to this:

Highlighted Texts
Highlighted Texts

2 thoughts on “Extract highlighted text from a PDF in Linux

  1. If you want to install FoxIt Reader on Fedora 26 you will have to run the following to make it work:
    cd ~/opt/foxitsoftware/foxitreader
    ln -s /lib64/libssl.so.10 lib/libssl.so.1.0.0
    ln -s /lib64/libcrypto.so.10 lib/libcrypto.so.1.0.0

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